Details on Cardell “Bear” Hayes Accused of Killing Former Saints DE Will Smith

Former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was killed over the weekend following an incident which initially was suspected as road rage. 28-year-old Cardell Hayes was arrested and is currently being held on $1 million bond.

As more details have emerged on Hayes, a few interesting connections have some wondering if the situation is as random as first assumed. Here are the details we currently know:

Saturday evening, Hayes’ H2 rear-ended Smith’s Benz SUV, which caused the Benz to rear end a Chevy Impala being driven by a friend of Smith’s. Hayes and Smith argued before Hayes shot Smith and his wife Raquel. 

In 2005, Hayes farther was killed by police. Hayes had sued the police department for wrongful death. One of the cops in the lawsuit, Billy Ceravolo dined with Smith that evening.

Hayes’ father, Anthony, was mentally unstable and had gotten into an argument with an employee at a St. Charles Avenue pharmacy while holding a pocket knife when officers shot and killed him, officials said. Hayes, now 28, sued for damages, alleging that officers should have used non-lethal force — such as a stun gun — to subdue his father, but none of the cops had such a tool.

The litigation was settled in 2011 for an undisclosed amount of money that could be described as “large,” said attorney Ike Spears, who represented Hayes in that matter but is not involved in the Smith case.

Billy Ceravolo retired from the New Orleans Police Department as a captain in 2013 after 25 years on the force. The lawsuit accused Ceravolo of being among several officers to fatally shoot Anthony Hayes.

Cardale also did security for the Saints during the time that Smith played for the team.



Hayes lawyer, John Fuller spoke to reporters and is implying that his client acted in self defense.

Defense attorney John Fuller asked for low bond Sunday night, noting that Hayes had waited for police, owns a towing business and is raising his 5-year-old son.

he said outside the courthouse, the accident that police said touched off the deadly confrontation was the second within moments.

He said Hayes ran into the back of Smith’s Mercedes while following a hit-and-run driver who had rear-ended his Humvee and sped off. Fuller wouldn’t say whether Hayes identified the Mercedes as that vehicle.

Hayes is not guilty of murder, and the story is more complex than the police account, Fuller said after the hearing. He said Hayes called 911 after he was hit and convinced a witness who was about to leave to remain and talk to police.

Hayes also briefly played for the New Orleans Voodoo arena football team. Arizona Cardinals’ Tyrann Mathieu is familiar with Hayes from his college days and dropped this tidbit on Instagram.